3. - 5. 6. 2007
21. - 22. 2. 2008

Trafficking for forced labour in industries other than the sex industry across Europe

Funding organisations: FWO, GACR, IRCHSS, Mnil. FAS

This proposal· follows on from a research project currently underway in the UK, Czech Republic, Portugal and Ireland undertaken by Anti-Slavery International (London), the CSGE (University of Birmingham) and local partner NGOs, which aim is to focus specifically on persons trafficked for forced labour, services, slavery or practices similar to slavery and their access to justice in EU countries.
The project aims to address the fact that so far the identification, assistance and protection strategies for victims of trafficking are designed almost exclusively to address the needs of persons trafficked into the sex industry. Project outcomes will lead to policy recommendations and should improve the understanding of the issue of trafficking for labour exploitation and ensure that it is mainstreamed in the EU.

Project Leader: Christien van den Anker
University of the West of England, UK

Principal Investigators:
Martin S. Ronald Commers
Ghent University, Belgium
Drbohlav Dusan
Charles University, Czech Republic
Shahram Khosravi
Stockholm University, Sweden
Marek Okolski
Warsaw University, Poland



Short non-technical description of the Collaborative Research Project

This project researches trafficking for forced labour in other industries than the sex industry. It fits in with recent initiatives by the ILO on this subject and will provide much needed information in this area in seven European countries.
By involving researchers from different disciplines, an analysis of the situation will be approached from a variety of angles, providing the opportunity to integrate research that otherwise remains isolated.
All partners contribute by developing a data set on the occurrence of trafficking for forced labour in their country and/or by providing data on their country as a country of origin.
In workshops with all partners, papers will be presented by experts in the field to analyse the data, to test existing theoretical explanations and to develop new models.
The theoretical framework for the collaborative research includes the dual labour market model (Piore, 1979), the global cities model (Sassen, 1988, 1991 and 1996) and the thesis that migrant workers find niches where they do not pose a threat to local workers. It also provides a normative perspective on whether trafficking for forced labour should be approached as a human rights issue in the context of globalisation.


Main aims of the Collaborative Research Project

This project seeks to identify, map and analyse the occurrence of trafficking for forced labour in other industries than prostitution in 7 European countries.
The project aims to:

  1. collect data on industries in which forced labour occurs and the countries of origin of trafficked migrants;
  2. develop frameworks for analysis building on existing models;
  3. provide normative and conceptual analysis of trafficking for forced labour across the countries involved;
  4. integrate empirical data, theoretical frameworks and normative analysis in a series of workshops where partners and their researchers will exchange information and ideas and additional input will be provided by invited academic, NGO and professional experts in the field of forced labour;

provide a platform for disseminating findings and analyses to policy makers on forced labour by holding a final conference with all partners, researchers, invited experts and policymakers from relevant countries and the EU as a whole.


Potential impacts of the Collaborative Research Project

National and international policy makers are in great need of better data and perspectives on trafficking for forced labour. Due to its network of expertise and involvement in some of the first research projects on this subject, the potential impacts of the proposed project are to contribute to:

    • knowledge of the trends in trafficking for forced labour, including countries of origin, transit and destination;
    • profiles of vulnerable migrant workers;
    • assessment of comparative policy models and relevant international norms;
    • the state of the art academic research by further developing theoretical models (beyond economic or crime based explanations) like dual labour markets and the changing labour migration due to the globalisation of capitalism.
    • the development of approaches calling for cosmopolitanism and human rights.
    • a multi-disciplinary approach, including data collection as well as theoretical analysis and conceptual normative analysis.
    • Solid dissemination strategies to national and international policy makers in need of data and perspectives of understanding;
    • a suitable ethical methodology to assist replication in additional European countries and which fits in with recent work by ILO, Anti-Slavery International, the European Group of Experts on Trafficking and the Dutch Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings.

Added value of the collaboration

Collecting data on trafficking for forced labour is notoriously difficult due to its illicit nature and the vulnerability of participants. This project adds value by:
a) collaborating with researchers throughout Europe with expertise in the field of (illicit) migration, through building networks that combine existing European-wide strengths;
b) making cross-regional comparisons to identify similarities as well as national or sub-regional specifics or sector-bound trafficking;
c) building a non-virtual network of researchers (partners and invited guests), which will provide a sustainable resource for research and expertise in this area. A combination of new partners and previous collaborators will galvanise expertise in this recently developed and developing field of research.
d) working in a multidisciplinary consortium bringing together empirical, analytical and normative research. Bringing together different perspectives from a variety of disciplines and multidisciplinary fields has proven invaluable in past EC-funded projects at the CSGE. 
e) bringing in professionals and NGO activists to assist in gathering data as well as in reflection on current trends in forced labour.
f) by allowing for comparison on the level of law enforcement and victim support as well as national models of policymaking, including the institutionalisation of national rapporteurs.












International Human Rights Day event Bristol, December 2007